I got my start as a freelance writer when I was 20 years old, as a way to help me pay for college while I was a full-time student. After graduation, when I was a full-time salaried employee, I continued freelancing to make ends meet. As I grew older, being a freelance writer was the only way that I could afford to stay at home with my daughters after they were born. Freelancing gave me the flexibility to work on my own schedule. Being a freelancer also prevented me from having a gap on my resume once my children were older and I could return to a more steady work schedule.
I’ve had several full-time jobs during the past 32 years, but the one constant has always been my ability to freelance. Freelancing has given me peace of mind because I know that I can earn a living no matter what. When my father was dying, I had the flexibility I needed to go see him in the intensive care unit every day. I could be available when my children got sick and couldn’t go to school. I was able to miss a day of work without repercussions.
What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: Companies that use independent contractors will choose not to work with those of us who live in New Jersey. It’s just too big a risk, and with the way the gig economy has exploded across the United States, they have plenty of choices.
What I want lawmakers to do: Devote the time and effort required to get this kind of legislation right, without unintended consequences like the ones we’re seeing unfold in California after a similar law was enacted there. If we’re not actually changing existing law in New Jersey, the way the sponsors of S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) claim, then what’s the rush?